Beginning with an account of recent efforts, like Georgia Warnke's, to demonstrate Hans-Georg Gadamer's relevance to legal theory, this Article looks at Gadamer's conception of language and tradition, claiming that, while he shares important features of Heidegger's thought, Gadamer productively grounds his view of language and tradition in such a way that the everyday realm of public discourse, characterized by a healthy injunction to foster reasoned debate amongst divergent perspectives and interpretations, has a vital and integral role to play. While Gadamer criticizes the Enlightenment's hostility to tradition, paradoxically, his concept of linguistically mediated tradition has far more in common with Jürgen Habermas's continuation of the Enlightenment project, a commitment to foster a public domain where all are vigilant against forces of domination and where claims to truth and rightness are subject to justification via a process of argumentation.
Gadamer, Heidegger, and the Social Dimensions of Language: Reflections on the Critical Potential of Hermeneutical Philosophy,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol76/iss2/7